What is the metabolic confusion diet and could it help you lose weight?

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  • As the name suggests, the metabolic confusion diet aims to trick your metabolism into working harder and so helping you to lose weight quicker.

    If you’ve made your way from extreme weight loss plans all through to the Sirtfood Diet and have now turned to the metabolic confusion diet, it’s probably because you know that your metabolism has a lot to do with how you lose weight and how successful you are at it.

    Everyone’s metabolism – the body’s process to turn food into energy – is different and works at different speeds. Unfortunately for the rest of us, some people’s metabolisms are supercharged and they can eat (almost) anything without gaining any weight. This is because their body burns the calories they eat at a much faster rate.

    What is the metabolic confusion diet?

    The idea behind the metabolic confusion diet is similar to that of an intermittent fasting diet – except you can eat at any time of the day.

    Instead of reducing the number of overall calories you consume  on your diet, as many plans suggest you should, the metabolic confusion diet encourages you to alternate your calorie intake to confuse your metabolism and promote fat-burning.

    For example, on a low day you might consume 1200 calories and on a normal day it might be 2000 calories. Although it is restrictive, so you can’t just eat whatever you like and you need to pair this diet with exercise, it’s less restrictive than other fasting-based diets like the 5:2 plan.

    What can you eat on the metabolic confusion diet?

    metabolic confusion diet

    Credit: Getty

    As it’s not extremely restrictive, you can be fairly flexible about what eat on the metabolic confusion diet.

    A typical plan for two weeks will be 11 days of low-calorie intake, followed by 3 days of high-calorie intake. The point of doing this is to force your body into a weight-loss plateau by resetting your metabolism through cycling your calories and macronutrients.

    So, a typical low-calorie day on the metabolic confusion diet might look like this:


    Banana, yoghurt and oats smoothie (197 calories)

    1 large, boiled egg (78 calories)


    Vegetable soup (163 calories)

    Chickpea burger (300 calories), pair with whole grain bun or bread


    Sweet chilli salmon (345 calories)


    Orange muffin (130 calories) = total 1,213 calories

    Tropical fruit salad (85 calories) = total 1,168 calories

    As a spokesperson for Future Fit Training says, “While there are no restrictions on what you can eat, be aware not to fill your higher-calorie days with lots of heavily processed and refined foods.

    “To maintain a healthy and nutritious diet, and to see the best results from this diet, include lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as sources of protein and carbohydrates. These foods will help support your health from the inside, as well as supporting any aesthetic goals you may have.”

    Could the metabolic confusion diet help you lose weight?

    It’s important to make sure that when you’re starting a new diet plan that you consult your GP or a nutritionist, who will best be able to advise you on the best way for you to lose weight.

    Because it is restrictive to calories, when taking on this diet plan it’s important that you are still getting enough vitamins, minerals and fibre to avoid long-term health conditions like diverticulitis and stay healthy.

    Future Fit Training’s spokesperson says, “It’s so hard to keep up with all the different diets that circle around, particularly with more social media health influencers around than ever. This makes it really difficult to distinguish what is qualified nutritional advice, vs fad diets from unqualified health influencers.

    “The metabolic confusion diet is based on the belief that changing the intake of calories from one day to the next will turbocharge your metabolism and help you lose weight. Many have reported that following this type of diet has enabled them to lose weight, though a number of lifestyle factors (eg. physical activity, sleep, current weight) can affect how quickly, and how much weight you lose.”

    However, in the short term it seems that the metabolic confusion diet could certainly help you to lose weight. It’s questionable whether you would be able to maintain such strict calorie controlling over a period of years or even months though.

    metabolic conditioning diet

    Credit: Getty

    Should you exercise on the diet?

    The idea behind the metabolic confusion diet is to have fewer calories entering your system and more calories being expelled out to jump-start your metabolism, so exercise is a vital part of it.

    Exercising on your high-calorie days makes more sense as you have more fuel in your body to keep you going. HIIT workouts are a great way to get stuck into exercise, especially if you only have a limited amount of time. On low-calorie days, lighter exercise like walking or yoga is a good way to stay active while not leaving you calorie deficient.

    However, it’s important to note that using exercise to offset lower calorie days and eat more is not part of the diet plan, as this will still affect your metabolism.